Magick Touch – Cakes & Coffins (Edged Circle Productions)

Wednesday, 17th May 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

Power trio lineups present unique possibilities as far as putting the focus on the abilities of the musicians on hand. Less is more they say – building that musical telepathy to know where to take basic songwriting mechanics to emphasize strengths inherent as you gain confidence in your craft. Norwegian act Magick Touch has been together since 2015 – releasing three previous full-lengths of melodic heavy metal with some occult hard rock tendencies. For this scribe, the fourth album Cakes & Coffins (what a title!) contains that alluring mixture of playful anthems that convey a darker, brooding atmosphere to match what the world has conquered living through a pandemic.

Dual vocalists give the band a multitude of angles to achieve the best results – guitarist HK Rein and bassist Christer Ottesen thoughtful, emotional, wringing every droplet of feeling through their bluesy, rock to metal registers. The drum approach from Bård Nordvik has that old school 70’s feel – a slamming appeal at any tempo a la John Bonham, Ian Paice, or Cozy Powell that makes “Boots” and opener “Apollyon” easy standouts. Studio performances allow guitarists if they wish to layer their playing with supplementary bells and whistles when it comes to harmonies or counterpoint measures that add depth to the main riffs – HK injecting specific tracks with more of that twin guitar/bluesy groove thunder a la Thin Lizzy or Whitesnake for “Demons and Rust” plus “M.I.N.A.”. The purity rings through track by track – keeping things very sharp in mostly radio-friendly arrangements so that the hooks hit hard and fast on all fronts. Favorites change by the playback – the highway cruising rhythm / vocal harmony blitzkrieg in the aforementioned “Apollyon” as well as the chunky 80’s-like “Guillotine Dreams” that feature some sinister high-pitched melodies next to the gritty grunge/metal textures rate higher and higher through each exposure.

Cakes & Coffins by Magick Touch has that cross-pollinating appeal for those who love bluesy hard rock and straightforward metal where the 70’s and 80’s collide into one explosive style. Grab that cold beverage, crank this loud to rock out your frustrations, angst, or aggression in the best way possible.

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